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Covered Walk
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Curving Asphalt
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Walkway-Hosta
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japanese boxwood

I love the light, almost yellow-green glossy foliage. It's one of my favorites for great contrast with the other colors in my landscape.

Some are evergreen (stay green in the winter months), and some are not, so read the labels or ask at the garden center before buying if this is important to you.

I like a natural look, so I just keep them clipped enough to look groomed-not formal, and to keep them at the size I like. I only have to lightly trim them once, twice at the most, each year.

If you prefer a more formal look to your garden, they are also beautiful when trimmed into different shapes and sizes. This type is commonly used for the topiary you sometimes see that is clipped into shapes, some of which can be pretty elaborate.


Chinese Holly

These shrubs are very deep green with shiny leaves and beautiful deep red berries in the fall. They are extremely prickly, so take care where you place them.

The police department in my city actually recommends them for placing under windows to deter burglars! If you use them for this reason, make sure they're planted in an area and in such a way that you can work around them if you need to, though.

What I really like about them is that they only get 3-4' tall and grow in a mounded shape, so do not need any trimming to keep their shape, and they look beautiful in the winter as well as the summer.


Dwarf Youpon Holly

Can you see a trent here? I really like holly bushes and low maintenance plants! The Dwarf Youpon is a wonderful edging plant or can also be used in front of larger hedges for that beautiful lush layered look that will set your landscape apart from many others. These are also evergreen, so will keep their color in the winter months. They don't have vivid coloring; however, they're still a favorite as they grow in a rounded shape and do not need trimming.


Azaleas

In my opinion, one of the most beautiful shrubs of all. They come in all sizes and in many brilliant colors and need at least dappled shade. Even without their spring flowers, they have a beautiful shape and medium, glossy green color. They are one of the shrubs I've mentioned that can stand alone in the place of flowers in the spring.


Oleander

I have one in the front corner of my yard and it gets tons of compliments all by itself! It blooms in my area in late spring to early summer and is absolutely covered with deep hot pink flowers against it's deep green colored, elongated and pointed leaves. It is evergreen as well and again, doesn't need much pruning unless you want to contain the size a bit or shape it slightly. It's like a large bush in appearance.

They generally grow about 4-5' high and almost as wide, so make sure you have plenty of room for it! There are some miniature pale pink flowering Oleanders as well, but they don't seem to be quite as hardy as the larger variety. The colors available for the larger ones (depending on your area) are hot pink, pale pink, white and sometimes yellow. They are said to be poisonous, so plant them at your own risk, but I've always had pets and have never had any problems with them, nor have any of my friends.


Formulating Your Plan

If you have no landscaping or very little, walk your property and decide:

  • where you want your trees and what kind
  • where you want your beds (shade and sun)
  • walkways, dog runs, etc.
  • patios, water areas (pools, ponds, waterfalls)
  • recreation areas
  • any additional uses you have planned for your outdoor living space

    Start with whatever element is most important to you (trees, flowers, water elements, etc.), and plan around those.

  • Another approach I use is to visualize my yard in "segments". For example, one segment would be the areas on either side of your front door. Another would be around a pool, another maybe an area between your patio and fence that's just right for a small bed.

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      As you form your plan, keep in mind:
      • SCALE
      • No tiny beds for a huge yard or huge commercial sized pot or lamp post for a small yard!
        • Also, keep decorative elements and container plants to a minimum if your yard is small as it can easily end up looking ill-planned and cluttered.

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Below are some of the most attractive and useful shrubs I've found. As with everything else, you should check zone charts for your area before planting to make sure they are appropriate for where you live.

Fall-Color-Trees


Red Flowering Dogwood


Pin Oak


Sugar Maple


Aristocrat Flowering Pear


Post Oak


Autumn Blaze Red Maple


Northern Red Oak


Red Maple


Autumn Flame Red Maple


Bradford Flowering Pear


October Glory Red Maple


Autumn Purple Ash


Shumard Oak


Japanese Red Maple


River Birch

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Cleveland Flowering Pear


Dwarf Red Buckeye


Cimmaron Ash


Shumard Oak


Red Sunset Red Maple


Silver Maple



Fast-Growing-Trees


American Arborvitae


Globe Arborvitae


Techny Arborvitae


Autumn Purple Ash

Aristocrat Flowering Pear


Shademaster Honey Locust


Black Willow


Cimmaron Ash


Willow Hybrid


Norway Spruce


Weeping Willow


Eastern White Pine


Bradford Flowering Pear


Ponderosa Pine


White Ash


Fraser Fir


Norway Spruce


Silver Maple


Eastern White Pine


Ponderosa Pine


White Ash


Fraser Fir